E-bikes are a Transportation Revolution
I bought an e-bike in November 2020, it was life-changing, and now I have 4 (pedal-assist, not throttle). I'm documenting my reflections about the e-bike space here, in the hope it will help others.
4 e-bikes on the Hoboken waterfront
- Overview/Specs: weights between 35-60lbs, ranges from 25-130mi, prices from $1900-$7000 ($2500-$8000 incl. gear)
- Speed ⟹ Convenience: ebikes are as fast as cars in urban environments; can solve congestion and parking issues
- Space: high mobility per unit space; combine with other modes (trains, buses, ferries)
- Bike vs. Car Storage: parking takes too much space in cities, and is heavily subsidized; bike parking is 5-10x more efficient
- Groceries, Bulk Items: basically any grocery run, and a surprising number of bulk item moves, can be done via e-bike
- Car sewers: cars make streets miserable for everyone not in a car; doing this to 100% of streets is extreme, and terrible policy.
- Helmets: can't hurt, but often used to blame/criminalize cyclists for infrastructure/engineering problems
- Traveling with E-bikes: flying generally not possible (might work with e-brompton); trains/boats generally easy/possible
- Gear: 10-20% a bike's cost in add-ons can make it 10x more useful
- Bags: get weight off of you and onto the bike, where it rolls
- Phone Mounts: phone mounted up front (e.g. w/ turn-by-turn directions) is surprisingly useful; I use Quad Lock.
- Locks: Kryptonite U-lock + cable (medium weight, decent security), OnGuard U-Lock (lighter / more clearance but weaker), OTTO cable lock (compact+light extra security layer)
- Winter Cycling: easier+better than you think, $200 of gear solves cold down to ≈25ºF
- Action Cameras: I use a GoPro Hero 9 Black and GoPro Hero 8 Black, in a chest harness and seat-rail mount, to film rides
- Strava: robust recording app (resumes after phone crashes), good small-circle social network, good open data posture
- wandrer.earth: cool app on top of Strava, providing stats/viz about places you've been and places you might still like to explore
- Post-Processing Videos: dealing with videos afterward is its own adventure
- GoPros are pretty hard to deal with; telemetry data is often not recorded correctly, and the GoPro software ecosystem is a mess
- 512GB micro-SD: never worry about SD-card capacity in-camera (there's enough to worry about when the data comes off the camera)